Richard Skipper Photo Credit, Stephen Mosher
Marge Champion Photo from the Marge Champion Photo Collection
*I am in favor of covering the stories of individuals who have been in their careers so long they have made quite a history for themselves and therefore their stories are worth detailing. That is why interviewers like Richard Skipper are important, because he brings people to the fore-front who were the champions of their day, such as 95 year old former dancer, Marge Champion.
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1919, Marge Champion was the daughter of Ernest and Gladys Baskett. She started dancing at an early age and by 12 became a dance instructor. Walt Disney noticed her and hired her to model as his character Snow White. She later modeled for Disney, posing as Maid Marion via Disney’s animated film, “Robin Hood.” She also posed as the dancing hippo in Disney’s popular film “Fantasia” and modeled as the Blue Fairy in “Pinocchio.” In fact, Gower’s first husband was Art Babbitt a Disney animator who created the Goofy character. She later married Gower Champion, enjoying a 26 year marriage until they divorced. Her third and last marriage was to actress Katey Segal’s father, director Boris Segal.
The Champion dance team of Gower and Marge Champion made quite the name for themselves in Hollywood circles in the 1940s and 1950s, appearing in musicals such as “Show Boat,” “Everything I Have Is Yours” and “Lovely to Look At.” They did a remake of Roberta in 1935. The team went on to do their own TV situation comedy series entitled The Marge and Gower Champion Show which featured song and dance numbers. Drummer Buddy Rich was featured on the show. Marge appeared in The Red Skelton Hour and years later, appeared in the television program “Fame” and in a Broadway revival of “Follies.” She also co-authored two books with actress Marilee Zdenek, entitled Catch the New Wind and God Is a Verb.
In 2013, Marge Champion received The Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award at the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards Ceremony.
Ms. Champion will share her long and illustrious career with interviewer Richard Skipper at the Spiral Theater, giving him a rare interview into her life, career and Hollywood history on Sunday, October 5th, beginning with cocktails at 5:00 pm and the actual interview at 5:30 pm. A Meet and Greet will follow.
For tickets call 845-365-0720. Tickets are $35.00. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will go to benefit the Spiral Theater Studio. The Spiral Theater Studio is located at 300 West 43rd Street (off of 8th Avenue), Room 603, in Manhattan. Seating is limited so get your tickets early. An RSVP is highly recommended.
To find out more about the interviewer Richard Skipper, see http://www.richardskipper.com/bio.html
If you are interested in Old Hollywood and the stars and movies of that era, you will love this opportunity to meet Ms. Champion. I know I will be there and I hope you will be there, too.
Deardra Shuler is a well published journalist who has profiled celebrities and written about people of note for many years. In addition to her column at EURweb.com, she is the host of her radio show “Topically Yours” on BlakeRadio.com. Interested parties can acquire info regarding Deardra through Writspirit.com, Tagged.com, Facebook and Google. Contact her via: [email protected].